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BeerBods Live Review

We held our first BeerBods Live event in Brum on 11th March. Subscriber Mark Golland (BOD #120) came along and provides his thoughts on the evening.

Guest | 13 Mar 2015

“So, I assume you have this planned right down to the minute? 

Si fixed me with his cool, confident, beardy stare. “No,” he said. “To the second.”

And so began BeerBods Live, a fantastic night of fun and beer and all sorts of peculiar goings-on.

Announced several weeks prior by the guys at BeerBods, this event doubled as an investors’ meeting and a meet-and-greet party for subscribers. The investors’ meeting was, of course, top secret and I have been instructed not to reveal any of the details. (Just between you and me, though, most of it was taken up by a long discussion about whether the new boxes are better or worse than the old boxes.)

As Gordon stated during the evening, the event was ‘unapologetically not in London’. This was A Good Thing as it made it handy for us Midlanders to attend and hopefully demonstrated to those who made the trip up from London that there is in fact life in the regions and that there is a healthy, burgeoning brewing scene.

The venue was the relatively new Pure Bar And Kitchen in Birmingham city centre. This was opened by the Purity brewing company as a showcase for their beers and has quickly become a popular destination, known almost as much for the nice food they do there as for their obviously excellent drinks selection. Hopefully BeerBods will continue their policy of holding future events in varying locations around the country - it is good for the areas to promote their local drinks, it is good for the subscribers who get to see alternative locations and it reaffirms one of the BeerBods core principles of introducing people to new beers from new places.

So, back to the events of the evening. True to Si’s word, the investors’ meeting began at precisely 16:48:37 and ended exactly at 18:36:49. By the time we piled out into the main room many subscribers had already arrived for the evening events and were deeply involved in drinking their first beer. Presumably this is precisely how Si had planned it.

The evening’s entry price included food and four half pints of beer. Three of these half pints were provided later on, but the fourth was free to choose. As expected with Purity, all beers came in custom glasses emblazoned with their logo. If you drink their beers elsewhere (such as at the excellent Electric Cinema in Birmingham, which if you haven’t been to, you need to) you will probably also get given one of their nice glasses. Which you mustn’t steal. Because that would be naughty.

Once the general mingling and chatter and introductions were over, the food came out. Now, I can’t tell you enough how nice the food was. It was fantastic. But, and this is the annoying thing, everybody that I have tried to describe it to has responded with, “I thought you said it was fancy?” Because, at the end of the day, it was pork pie, sausage rolls and scotch egg. Really nice pork pie, sausage rolls and scotch egg though. I mean, really really nice.

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Having waited for everybody to finish their really really really nice cheese-and-pineapple-sticks and mini fish and chips etc. it was time for the main event: the brewer’s talk. How Si managed to sync up the end of the eating and the start of the talk I don’t know, but he did. It was seamless. To the second.

So onto the floor stepped our host for the night: Flo, the head brewer of Purity. It was immediately apparent that he wasn’t a Brummie, and the precise nature of his nationality was a source of much speculation all night. (Spoiler - he is from France). We listened attentively as he talked us through the history of Purity beers, explained their core principles, described how he uses only the finest ingredients and how he strives to ensure that quality wins out over profits (even if the board might not always agree with him). As he talked, we were served three half pints of Purity’s own beers: Ubu, Pure Gold and Longhorn IPA (which is actually a keg ale). As we discussed these we were handed the appropriate malts to crunch and hops to smell and were instructed to try and find these flavours and aromas in the beers. A highlight was Flo demonstrating how to properly savour the hops, which resulted in a veritable snowstorm of shredded flowers covering our table and (fortunately) now empty plates.

A particular highlight of the talk was the discussion about what attributes actually make a session beer suitable for sessions. According to Flo, you want it to be dry, not sweet, with a low ABV yet still have a good bitterness. Pure Gold was the beer he chose as their best example of a session beer.

Wrapping up the talk with a question and answer session, Flo finally admitted defeat in his battle with the radio mic, and left the floor to a loud round of applause. This, of course, was timed with military precision to happen precisely before the next part of the evening: the heavily anticipated Beer Tasting Competition. 

Three of Purity’s beers were presented before each attendee along with a drinks menu from the bar. The challenge was to taste each beer and identify it on the menu by the description given. Now, I don’t want to draw too much attention to this, but there was in fact only one person who correctly identified all three beers. I won’t reveal who that person was, though, because I wouldn’t want to seem smug or anything. Or be accused of cheating.

Being (as I may already have mentioned) a well-organised event, the competition turned out to be a two-stage affair, with the top scorers from the first round going through to a blind beer tasting. Unfortunately, this proved rather hard for everybody and ended up in a three-way tie. So, to settle the competition, Gordon sat the three finalists down and asked them a tie-breaker about the very first Beerbods beer. Nobody knew this, so he asked another question about Matt’s dad. Then a question about a dog. Then another question. Eventually, somebody finally managed to randomly guess a correct answer, and so my friend Jon Stace was officially crowned Champion of BeerBods Live March 2015.

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And so the evening wound down. New friends bid their goodbyes, old friends finished their drinks and the party atmosphere gave way to the urge to head home. A very special thank you must be extended to Matt and Gordon and Si and Tom at Beerbods for organising a truly enjoyable and memorable evening, and also to Flo and the staff at the Pure bar for providing a great venue and fantastic food and drink.

And now I must away - it is the evening after and it is Thursday and it is 9pm. You know what that means...

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